On March 12, last Thursday, I attended a concert at First Ave in Minneapolis. I saw one of my favorite artists, Chelsea Cutler. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.
Not only is Cutler a fantastic performer, with great visuals and a large stage presence, but her music is just as swaying at a concert. This was the second time I was seeing her perform but under very different circumstances.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, I went through an especially emotional breakup in December. Around that same time, Cutler released her new album, How to be Human. I listened to the full album the first time and cried my eyes out. The new album was entirely a breakup album (dubbed such by my therapist). I felt the emotions and truth in the lyrics in such a raw way, that I couldn’t listen to it. Every time the songs came up on my phone, I had to skip them. Even hearing the first few chords of the songs pulled at the strings in my heart, so much so, that I knew I couldn’t listen to them.
So weeks went by without listening to those songs. As time went by, I was annoyed with myself for not listening to Cutler’s music, because I felt that I was letting this person who hurt me control what I listened to. I knew I needed to reclaim the music for myself.
And I finally did. It still hurt to listen to the music, but it hurt less than it did initially. The more I listened to it, the less it would hurt, and the more I could appreciate the music as music. Jump to the present, and I seek out listening to this album, because of how honest the lyrics are and how good the music is (Cutler is seriously a fantastic artist).
So when the time came to go to her concert, I was exhilarated. I was going to get to see one of my favorite artists in concert. I also knew that it was potentially going to be emotional for me. While my friend and I were waiting in line, I looked at her and said, “There’s a good chance that I might cry tonight.”
And I did. Cutler had played her first few songs, all of which had been from some of her previous albums. And as she started the next song, Crazier Things, I heard the first chords and felt them in my heart. The moment the song started, I knew this was going to be the song I cried at. Which made sense to me. It was the song I told my mom and my therapist to listen to during my breakup and said, “This is exactly how I’m feeling.” I had the hardest time listening to this song after my breakup.
I stood there, singing along to this song and holding my friend’s hand, with tears streaming down my face. At times, I couldn’t speak because I knew I would cry harder. My emotions were running high, with memories of how I felt every other time I’ve listened to that song. I felt so present in that moment.
The song ended and I had the biggest grin on my face (a little weird, huh?). But the last four minutes had been for me, and me only. It wasn’t about my ex, or about the people around me. All the emotions I had running through my body were focused on myself, on what I had felt and what I was currently feeling.
The rest of the concert I could feel the urge to cry, especially with some of her more heart-wrenching songs. I did shed a few more tears, but nothing like when Crazier Things played.
Concerts are a beautiful experience. You are surrounded by people who enjoy the same music as you. Everyone is there to support and listen to an artist. Everyone is going to be belting out the lyrics to songs and dancing with the small amount of personal space you’re afforded. So don’t worry about what you look like or sound like. Only focus on how you feel. You’re there for the experience to enjoy the music of an artist you love, and you get to do that however you want—whether that’s crying at the concert, dancing as much or as little as you want, or if it’s singing along to every song or standing there with your eyes closed, listening and feeling the music around you (I’ve done all of this). The most important part of being at a concert is enjoying it however you want.